February 22, 2017



Just off Main Street in historic downtown Ames, Iowa sat an Art Deco style bank whose integrity had been compromised after years of parceled tenantship and renovations. That was until 2015 when a local architecture firm, HAILA Architecture | Structure | Planning, decided to reclaim the local landmark for their own office.  Their effort was ultimately honored with a 2016 City of Ames Award for Historic Preservation for Adaptive Reuse.

The 3,900 square foot building was initially constructed in 1941 by architect Moorman & Company for the Stafford Bank which later became Ames Savings and Trust Bank. Its defining features were its voluminous sixteen foot tall center lobby, its glass block windows on the north facade, and its cream and green colored terrazzo floor. Decades later the bank was sold, partition walls and floor coverings were installed over the original terrazzo floor and the ceiling was lowered to 9 feet, and a north window was converted into an entrance.

With the help of a $75,000 Main Street Iowa Challenge Grant through the Iowa Economic Development Authority as well as an $11,000 City of Ames Façade Grant, HAILA was able to restore the original grandeur of the bank space while also introducing new elements that reflected an architect’s studio. Relying on historic photography, the process began by returning the interior’s proportions back to their original design by gutting all non-original features and finishes.  Similarly, an effort was made to restore the rhythm of the exterior façade by replacing the non-original exit door with a replicated window.

A number of original construction features were also re-purposed through creative solutions. This included the reuse of quite a few doors and salvage of the original vestibule marble wainscot which was refinished and repurposed into new kitchenette counter tops. HAILA also interjected modern finishes and design elements that told the history and character of the original building. Glass screen walls, that line the studio space, depict abstracted black & white historical photography of the building in its original form.

Glass also enabled the re-purposing once private spaces into open or semi-private areas. On the main level, the two offices that flanked the entry were converted into a conference room, administrative assistant work area, and office space through the inclusion of screen walls. On the mezzanine level, the window overlooking the office was expanded to add to a greater sense of collaboration and daylight.

With less than a 7% vacancy rate, the historic downtown of Ames, is one of the most active and economically stable in the nation. The presence of HAILA office brings creative, high paying, high-tech jobs to the Main Street Cultural District. HAILA is also able to build relationships with local Iowa State University by employing students, many who come from the greater region. Additionally, the location’s proximity to the City of Ames Chamber of Commerce and City Hall enables multiple members of HAILA to be involved with city boards and commissions.

December 18, 2014

Vermeer Applied Technology Hub

The Vermeer Applied Technology Hub, located at the Iowa State Research Park in Ames, Iowa, this facility houses opportunities for innovation and collaboration between Iowa State students and Vermeer team members to develop the next generation of Vermeer equipment.  The Iowa based company intends to create an environment for software engineers to excel in the development of practical, affordable and modular equipment technology. The unique space provides office space to allow students and faculty from Iowa State and other schools to work collaboratively on technology advancements for Vermeer industrial and agricultural equipment. As technology is developed, a specialized high-bay facility is used for testing and validation.

October 15, 2012

Story County Community Services

The vacated lower level of the Human Services Building presented an opportunity for the growing Story County Community Services Department to capture additional office space as well as reinvision daily operations of staff and visitors.

One of the primary challenges of the project was to provide an access corridor for maintenance staff to be able to walk freely from one end of the long narrow building to the other without disrupting the officing functions of the Community Services staff. Furthermore, any corridor along the perimeter of the space would potentially block the already limited daylight provided by the basement windows. The solution was to provide a continous band of partially obscurred ribbon windows along the main east-west corridor, allowing daylight and relative privacy to the Community Services staff, while allowing maintenance personel to move freely between the two sides of the building.

The department also desired multiple types and scales of conferencing abilities, from large staff meetings of twenty people or more to small personal meetings with visitors of no more than two to three people. Having limited space for conferencing functions, the solution was to create a singular flexible conference space with an operable glass wall to bisect the room on the fly. When openned, the room can easily accomodate a large staff meeting. When closed, the operable glass wall divides the space into two spaces, a medium and small sized conference room. Additionally, private offices were designed to provide impromptu meetings and conferences with visitors as well.